When class ended, my classmates grabbed their stuff and practically ran out of the classroom. Thanks, bitches.
I sat at my desk, preparing myself for my walk with SMH to her office down the Green Mile. I had already put all my stuff in my backpack.
“Shall we?” SMH asked. I nodded, and we walked down the hall. My classmates had positioned themselves all throughout the school in groups of twos and threes, acting like they weren’t trying to watch and listen. It was like a scene from every crime show, where they were undercover cops trying to catch a killer or something. I was the hostage, simply following the orders of my captor, who had a gun in my back, and she’d use it if I didn’t do exactly as she said.
“Not only is your paper the worst paper I’ve received this year,” SMH started, once we had reached the safety of her office. “But it’s the worst paper I’ve received in the last 1,500 years.”
“Oh, come on, Sister Mary Hitler,” I tried to sound jovial. I thought about slapping her on the ass and messing her hair up a little, and immediately decided not to when she sat down at her desk and looked at me. “It can’t be that bad, can it?”
My mind started working again. She’d received other papers this year. That was good. I’d have something to compare mine to if I survived this.
Yes, my paper was the epitome of suckdom. And here’s why. Good. She was going to tell me the areas she liked the least in my paper. For starters, I had listed some strange drug actions.
“Yeah, they’re called paradoxical reactions. They’re listed as possible reactions in my drug book. Would you like to see it? It’s in my backpack?”
“No. And there’s this. You didn’t actually provide any care to your patient.”
“If you recall, I wasn’t given that opportunity because you wouldn’t let me provide any actual care to my patient.” I thought about adding, I vas only following ordahs. Not a good idea.
“What about this thing you did here?”
“Um, that’s what you’ve been teaching us to do in that situation since the first day of class.” And it occurred to me, her issue wasn’t really about what I’d written because I didn’t say this:
Patient prepped and assisted into bed. VSS, A&O x 4. Then I started looking out the window, searching for the shape of a stork, because that’s where babies come from.
If her problem was with me, let’s talk about me.
“Sister Mary Hitler, if you kick me out of school, you’re going to destroy my life. This is the last chance I have to make my life better. If you kick me out, I’ll end up working at Fingerhut until I die. Please, give me another chance. I’ll do anything you ask.” If she had told me to get down on my knees and say Pretty please, I would’ve done that in a heartbeat.
SMH sat back in her chair, and she may have even allowed herself a small smile. If she knew how close to death she was right then, it would’ve been the last thing she would’ve done. I was about five seconds from cutting her liver out of her body and eating it in front of her before she bled out.
“Well, I suppose I could let you rewrite it…”
“Yes, I can do that. I’ll even translate it into Latin…”
“And I could give you until next…Friday… to have a completely rewritten paper on my desk…” I think we had two weeks to submit our first paper.
“I’ll have it on your desk by Wednesday.”
She still gave me until Friday. Then she noted all the pages in my original paper–so I couldn’t reuse them–and handed it back to me. I had gotten a reprieve. My execution had been postponed. Now I had to save my future career.
My classmates were still posed in the hallway, trying to look like they were innocent bystanders. I saw one of my fellow students who had turned in her Primip Paper before I had. I pulled her into the nearest Men’s restroom–a group of five other students rushed in after her.
“Give me your paper.” It wasn’t a request.
“No! I’m not going to let you copy my work!”
“I’m not going to copy it. I’m going to compare it.” And I told everyone what SMH told me.
“What the fuck? — That’s bullshit! — She’s out to get you, Mark! — Yeah, she’s never liked you!” everyone said at once. Except the girl I wanted the paper from.
“Give him your paper.” one of my supporting girls said to the girl I had pulled into the restroom. And everyone looked at her, as if they were wondering what raw liver really tasted like.
“Okay! ” she finally agreed, and pulled it out of her backpack.
By the way, she must’ve submitted the second worst paper that year, but she got a 98% on hers.
I spent the next three days rewriting my Primip Paper, wondering if I should add something about storks somewhere, just in cases. My second attempt wasn’t all that different from my original submission. I changed maybe a couple hundred words throughout the paper, focusing on the specific areas SMH had pointed out in her office. Paper Number Two was actually seventy-four pages long. I decided not to add anything about storks.
On Friday, I turned it in, then went to the nearest bar and drank until my brother had to throw me over his shoulder and carry me to the car.
Monday finally arrived. OB/GYN class was the last class of the day, of course. SMH walked in, placed my regraded Primip Paper facedown on my desk without a word, and walked to the front of the classroom to start her lesson.
“Look at it! What did you get?” the girl next to me whispered.
“You look.” I replied, handing her my paper. She scanned the front page quickly, then her face broke into a bright smile, and I could breathe again. She showed me the score, written in red ink at the bottom of the page.
I had survived Sister Mary Hitler. I wouldn’t have to work at Fingerhut after all. I still had a chance of graduating from nursing school.